• Qinyu Ding

I Feel the Sorrow

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Yesterday I read two data visualizations about fatalities and I am still feeling the pain and sorrow of what we lost.

One is U.S. GUN DEATHS which visualizes every single person who was shot in 2010 and 2013.

The other one is Out of Sight, Out of Mind. A visualization of all documented drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004 talking about people killed by drone strikes in Pakistan every month since 2004.

One of the things they have in common is that they both visualize every single data point to instantiate every life we lost and make the audience really feel the sorrow by adding up those tragedies, compared to a simple line chart or a bar chart.

Another thing I really appreciate about these two visualizations is the way it tells the whole story. These two projects both start their stories by talking about one single data point at the slowest pace, providing details about it to improve understanding of the context. Once the reader understands the background and starts building a connection to the story, they speed up to show the massive fatalities and the intensiveness of gunshots or drone strikes with thousands of falling lines and rapidly growing numbers. It hits me in the depth of my soul every time a line falls down - especially those lines in Out of Sight, Out of Mind which mimic real drone strikes that actually happened.

What's more impressive about them was how they present each tragedy in the most heartbreaking way I have ever seen. In U.S. GUN DEATHS, they depict a death in a gunshot in this way:

"Alexander Lipkins, killed at 29"
[A drop of tears falls down]
"Could have lived to be 93"

How sad the comparison between the cruel fact that he was killed at such a young age and the beautiful life she could have had! How heartbreaking the sharply rising number of the total stolen years from these lives is! I felt the sorrow and I am still feeling it.

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